“You Don’t Eat Meat?! It’s Okay, I make you lamb.”

I love, love, love black bean soup. It’s been my main source of protein these past few days. I have even cheated a little and sautéed some bacon and thrown it in to flavor the bean purée. I have also been obsessed with Whole Foods Indian Red Lentil Soup (pictured above with puréed ground turkey). I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 years now due to health concerns. I love the creativity that is required to make amazingly delicious and healthy meals. When my Naturopath, Dr. Ginger Nash, suggested that I add ground turkey to my recipe repertoire, I cringed a little and simultaneously danced a jig.

I had been craving chicken and cheese for over a week and jokingly tossed around the delicious combination with my boyfriend as if it were the new and trendy noun around town. Words would flow like, “let’s chicken and cheese it!” or “what are you doing today?” My response, “chicken and cheese.” This was the first time in 2 years that I adamantly craved meat and I knew that my protein intake was lacking due to my inability to swallow enough protein rich foods. So, when the word “Turkey” rolled off her tongue, I was elated and yet fearful. She instructed me to choose my meat wisely. “Meat selection is the easy part since I practically live in Whole Foods,” I thought.

I went on a meat shopping extravaganza and purchased two large chickens with an Animal Welfare Rating of 4, which Whole Foods defines as:

“Step 4: Pasture centered
When living outdoors, chickens and turkeys get to forage, pigs get to wallow and cattle get to roam.”

I also purchased ground turkey with an Animal Welfare Rating of 2:

“Step 2: Enriched environment
Animals are provided with enrichments that encourage behavior that’s natural to them — like a bale of straw for chickens to peck at, a bowling ball for pigs to shove around, or a sturdy object for cattle to rub against.”

I’m not terribly excited that I will be blending and eating a turkey that has been kept indoors and given a toy to occupy its time but nevertheless I was excited to find the whole chickens with such a high rating. I’m still crossing my fingers and hope to score a turkey with a rating of 5+ which is defined as:

“At Step 5 the well-being of the animals is the primary focus; efficiency and economy are secondary. Animals raised to Step 5+ standards must be born and live their entire lives on one farm.”

Since turkey is not a hot topic until the Holidays roll around, I’m going to have to do some digging, farm hunting, and farm hopping to grab a naturally raised, healthy, and happy bird that is heading toward the end of his farm life in a peaceful manner. I must first find the haystack before attempting to find the needle, and I’m glad turkeys are larger so hopefully this bird will be easier to track down.
Wish me luck ;-)

Live Happily!
-Angela L. Montanez